NEWS
02/10/2012 10:28 EST | Updated 04/11/2012 05:12 EDT

Sawyer Clarke Robison Arrested: Shooting Suspect Taken Into Custody Without Incident

CP

EDMONTON - RCMP believe a fugitive charged in the shooting of two Alberta Mounties heard the emotional plea his parents made through the media and decided to come out of hiding.

Sawyer Clarke Robison spent nearly three days on the run from police, but it appears he never strayed far from home.

The 27-year-old was arrested early Friday as he sat with two other people in a vehicle on a country road near an industrial site, about 20 kilometres from the town of Killam, southeast of Edmonton.

His family's organic farm, where the shooting took place Tuesday, is in the same area.

Robison's parents had crafted a poetic plea Thursday when they asked their son to turn himself in. "Swallow your hurt and listen to the quiet world."

Assistant Commissioner Marianne Ryan said that plea played a significant role in ending the search.

"They were instrumental in helping him to come forward," Ryan said at RCMP headquarters in Edmonton.

She said the peaceful arrest puts an end to a "tough week."

"We are extremely relieved that this situation has been resolved without any further harm to our members or the community. We can now focus our efforts on the criminal investigation."

Few details about the shooting have been made public, including who fired the shots at the officers and what could have motivated the attack.

RCMP have said a domestic violence assault days earlier in a nearby town led them to the search for a gun at the family's farm.

Four officers arrived at the property and shortly after two of them walked into the house, shots were fired. Both Mounties were hit but made it back outside and were taken away.

Robison was inside the house during the shooting, then drove away in a black Chevrolet Silverado truck with the licence plate UZE 545.

His uncle, Brad Clarke, was found dead inside following a lengthy standoff. Several weapons were seized from the property.

The two constables, Sheldon Shah and Sidney Gaudette, underwent surgery in Edmonton hospitals and are expected to eventually recover.

Robison was initially considered a person of interest wanted only for questioning, but RCMP later charged him with two counts of attempted murder and issued a Canada-wide arrest warrant.

RCMP explained the charges would allow officers to arrest Robison on sight. He may or may not have fired the shots that hit the two Mounties but could still be charged as a participant of a crime.

RCMP also considered him a high risk because they believed he was armed with long-barrelled weapons.

Ryan said that at the time of his arrest, Robison was unarmed but "extremely stressed." Police are still searching for his pickup truck and do not know where he spent the last few days.

Police issued a release late Friday afternoon warning the public not to approach the truck if it is found as "it may present a danger" if it contains any weapons.

"No one should touch it in any way, including opening doors and touching or entering the vehicle in any manner," said the release.

Authorities suspect the truck could be concealed in a bushy area or in an abandoned building.

Ryan would not say whether the two people who were with Robison when he was arrested were friends or family. She said it's not anticipated they will be charged with aiding a fugitive.

Robison is to make his first court appearance next week. The location for that appearance had not been determined.

"I'm glad he's safe," family friend Leola Forester said after learning of the capture. "It's a heart-breaking situation."

She echoed the sentiment of many residents in the community who find it hard to believe the quiet, friendly farm family could be at the centre of such trouble.

Robison works as a photographer and his mother, Carol Clarke, is an artist who sings in a church choir. Robison also played in a band with his father.

There are two homes on the property. Robison lived with his uncle in a bungalow; the parents in a small house on the property.

"They are very fine people," said Forester. "You tend to hear the negatives when something like this happens, but they are just some of the best people you could hope to meet."

Helen Whitten, mayor of the nearby town of Sedgewick, said she grew up next door to the kind family and the shooting came as a shock to everyone.

"This is something you read about happening somewhere else," she said.

"We're hoping for the RCMP officers to be back to normal, and we'll just get on with our quiet way of life."